We are interested in the mechanisms underlying angiogenesis under normal and pathological conditions. In particular, we focus on studying molecules that regulate tumor angiogenesis, as well as identifying plant-derived natural agents that can interfere with tumor angiogenesis. We hope that our study would help develop a more effective anti-angiogenesis therapy for cancer prevention and treatment.
Current research activity
Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, plays a critical role in tumor growth and metastasis. Targeting angiogenesis therefore becomes an important approach for cancer treatment and prevention.
Tumor associated blood vessels are phenotypically different from normal blood vessels, however their molecular difference is largely unknown. We are interested in comparing the cellular, genetic and epigenetic difference between proliferating endothelial cells associated with tumors vs. proliferating endothelial cells associated with developing organs vs. quiescent endothelial cells associated with mature organs. A better understanding of tumor associated endothelial cells would help develop a more effective molecular target for anti-angiogenesis therapy.
We are also interested in the plant-derived molecules that can interfere with tumor angiogenesis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the most critical and specific angiogenesis factors regulating normal embryonic vasculogenesis, angiogenesis and tumor angiogenesis. VEGF has been viewed as one of the most attractive therapeutic targets for the development of novel agents to treat cancer. We are searching for plant-derived natural agents that can block VEGF signaling. Anti-angiogenesis activities have been reported in some phytochemicals, including curcumin, resveratrol and catechins and are attributed to their anti-tumor activity. We hope our study will help develop a well-tolerated, inexpensive, oral and natural angiogenesis inhibitor.